Ed Boone discusses the latest chapter in the game phenomenon
Midway Games Inc. yesterday shipped Mortal Kombat: Deception, the latest entry in the company’s best-selling fighting franchise. Available for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, the game is one of the most anticipated titles for the holiday season and is backed by the most extensive marketing campaign in Midway’s history.
The 2002 Midway release, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance is on pace to surpass 3 million units sold by year’s end. Mortal Kombat: Deception takes the franchise to the next level with four independent gameplay modes and multiple new fatalities for each character.
Ed Boone, who created the Mortal Kombat franchise in 1992, worked closely with the developers at Midway during the creation of Deception. He tells Animation Magazine Online, "Fighting games are essentially two guys battling it out in a karate champ format. What we tried to do with this game is expand it into four different play mechanics. We’ve added a board game that combines elements of games like Chess and Stragego, and mixed it up with the Mortal Kombat fighting engine. We also added a puzzle game that is kind of like Tetris with Mortal Kombat characters and our own special rules. Then the final option is a single-player adventure game where you’re running around this town, interacting with the inhabitants, being challenged to fights and trying to unfold this whole 10-hour story that is the quest your character has undertaken. All these are separate modes of play in one game."
Animation-wise, Boone comments, "We’re always getting more sophisticated with motion-capture, but this is a fantasy game where people jump in the air, do two or three flips and get punched in the chin, flip around and land on their necks–things we obviously can’t have somebody do in a studio. So we motion-capture as much as we can and then somebody keyframes the remaining fantasy part of the animation and we combine the two together to create realistic but outrageous-looking animation sequences." The team predominantly used Alias’ Maya and Kaydara’s Motionbuilder for both in-game animation and cut scenes, and performed all motion-capture in-house at Midway.
According to Boone, the interactive environments also bring another level of strategy by including traps such as pits, collapsing floors and a giant meat grinder that you can push your opponent into. However, he says the thing fans are going to respond to the most is the introduction of online play for the first time in a Mortal Kombat title. Midway boasts that Mortal Kombat: Deception is as responsive online as it is offline. Connected players can enjoy the fighting action via both PlayStation 2 broadband and Xbox Live.
"This game, by far, has more content and more entertainment value than any fighting game in history, so we’re very pleased," Boone concludes. "The response from fans and reviews we’ve received have been very positive and I can’t wait for people to play it."
Midway is also releasing five unique Mortal Kombat: Deception Limited Edition sets featuring distinctive packaging, 40 minutes of bonus DVD video content, serialized Kollector’s Kards and a playable arcade version of the original Mortal Kombat.